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February 25, 2010


I agree with Brendan that Gaffney went too far in speculating about coded acts of submission. However, I have two complaints against the Obama Administration (not the President personally).

IMHO it was at best indiscreet to include in the design something that looks like a crescent and a star. Were the designers oblivious to the impact of their design? Did they intend to have reference to Islam? Either way, they did an unprofessional job.

Second complaint: The Federal Government has a deficit of over a trillion dollars. Government money should not be spent to create new logos.

No doubt logo spending is an infinitesimal portion of the budget, but it's a symbol of extravagence. There should be an attitude of thriftiness throughout the government. Wasteful acts like squandering money on logos is why Tea Party participants fear that the government will not properly deal with its financial problems.

I agree with David that logo redesign seems like an unnecessary expense right now--though I suppose it lets the Administration claim that another job has been created or saved. (I kid--the redesign probably accounts for a dozen jobs created or saved.)

But I'd have thought the objection to the design itself would be that it seem to depict a missile strike at the very heart of Islam. As Jack Kennedy famously said during the Cuban Missile Crisis, "There's always some son-of-a-bitch who doesn't get the message."

Before we start talking about the implications of the Missile Defense Agency's new logo, what exactly is the evidence that it has a new logo. The so-called "new logo" appears as part of a framing element on the agency's web site, but the "old logo" appears as well. There is no press release for a new logo. The "new logo" doesn't look like it could be used as a shoulder patch or letterhead or other typical logo function. The circular element curves into a horizontal bar that precludes many logo uses. It lacks the agency name. Is it possible that the accusation is not only crazy, but fictional as well? Has the right wing gone nuts over some web monkey's fancy

Paul, I'm not getting your point. The new logo appears prominently in the upper left of that agency's web site. See http://www.mda.mil/ Even if they're continuing also to use the old logo for certain purposes, I don't see how that would contradict the fact that they have created this new logo and they are using it.

What I mean is that MDA appears to be using the "old logo" as its logo in every context in which you normally see a logo, with the exception of the upper left corner of its web pages. For example, it submitted its 2011 budget on February 1, in a document that uses the old logo: www.defense.gov/news/d20100201mdaslides.pdf. There was no evidence of an effort to rebrand the agency; rather, every reference I could find to the new graphic was from one of the sources attacking it, and all of them took it from the web. My question was whether this was just an element of web design that used an abstracted form of the old logo without in any way being an official new logo. Since then, I found a post on Pandagon purporting to be from an MDA employee, saying that a letter has gone out to all MDA employees that includes the following:

"There are references on the Drudge Report and other media outlets to a 'new' MDA logo. In fact, the official MDA seal has not been changed or replaced. There is a different logo on the public MDA website, to which the media reports are referring. This logo was developed approximately 3 years ago, in support of MDA recruiting efforts, and is not linked to any political entity."

If this is true, and it strikes me as plausible, then the new graphic is more than just a bit of web design, but it isn't a replacement of the old agency seal.

As has been reported elsewhere, the "new" Missile Defense Agency logo was actually designed during the Bush administration's rule. That fact, I'd suggest, gives some credibility to Rob's comment about the design looking like a strike at the heart of Islam. I agree, and I’d suggest that any Muslim viewing the Missile Defense logo could quite reasonably interpret it as depicting the red, white and blue USA shooting down the Islamic crescent.

Given that the emphasis of (the largely dysfunctional) missile defense strategy has shifted from shooting down Russian missiles to shooting down Iranian missiles, it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to imagine some Bush-era neocon designers slipping in a symbolic Islamic crescent to shoot down. The fact that such an image fits nicely with the Bush gang’s War on Terrorism (read: Christianity versus Islam) is just gravy.

Once the Muslim community and Islamic countries inevitably latch onto this alternative interpretation of the Missile Defense Agency logo, it will be fun to watch the right wingers battle with them over their respective interpretations of the design. With the right-wing Obama-promoting-Islam theories already blown out of the water by the logo’s provenance (not to mention by sane thinking), I wonder if it will be so easy to disprove the USA/Christian-attacking-Crescent/Islam interpretation.

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